Monday, 31 July 2017

Final stretch to Christleton

We’d estimated another three hours boating from the Shady Oak to Christleton and wanted to arrive at around ten, so we got going just after seven, or rather Sheila did whilst I ate breakfast. She’d rather drawn the short straw again for her day to steer, as it rained fairly steadily for much of the time. Clad in her rain suit, they weren't impossible conditions, just soggy. I fear the forecast for the next couple of weeks looks to be much the same as we’ve been having for the last few days – occasional spells of bright and warm weather interspersed with varying amounts of rain.

A chunk of the trip was spent plodding past what must now be around two miles worth of offline mooring at Golden Nook farm. It’s always hard to remember over the gaps of four or five years at a time, but we’re sure that there are more boats there every time, making a nonsense of the CRT plan to reduce online moorings.

Despite all that, we made good time. It seems likely that this stretch has been dredged recently as Sanity Again was charging along at over 3.5 mph when it was possible to open the throttle to 1200 rpm. As a result, we arrived just after half nine, having only just finished the wash load. Since we had a good bit of time in hand, and as the rain seemed mostly to have cleared away, we decided to have an early coffee then walk down into Chester, shop at the new Waitrose and get a sandwich lunch there, then mooch about Chester for a bit before taking a bus back.

Mostly, this went to plan. The new Waitrose is very handy, towpath side with dedicated shopping moorings not long after the last lock, Hoole Lane. We’d checked the numbers of the buses to catch back and only had to find a stop in town at which to catch one. Sadly, Chester doesn't do much in the way of helpful maps in the centre to assist with this process. There are quite a few fancy map displays, but they are all concerned with the various cycle routes around the place.

We finally found a more general one and, with the aid of that and some advice from a council staff person we spotted in the street, finally got to what Chester rather grandiloquently calls the Chester Bus Interchange or CBI, what the rest of us would usually refer to as a bus station. The 41, 41A and C56 all leave from Stand C there (this year at least) and make their way out of town along the A41 that passes the Jolly Trooper Harvester pub where you can hop off and access the towpath.

CRT are doing a bit of towpath improvement near there, right opposite the winding hole we plan to use tomorrow. We’ll just have to hope that the workboats tied to the towpath alongside don’t stop us from getting 70’ round…


1 comment:

Jo said...

This is when you need to be a Twitter user. A sad tweet to customer services CRT about the inability to wind because of workboat obstructions will prompt immediate action! Believe me!